New Zealand homes are notoriously cold and poorly insulated, especially in the throes of winter. During these colder months in particular, it’s important to keep your house warm and dry due to the effect cold, damp homes have on health.
There are three essentials that work together to create a healthy, energy-efficient home: keeping your home warm, ensuring your home is dry, and airing it out regularly. Check out our tips for a warmer, drier, and healthier home this winter.
Before we begin… Did you know?
- The World Health Organisation recommends a minimum of 18 degrees Celsius in our homes, and ideally 21 C if babies or elderly people live in the house. Yet, the average daily indoor temperature during winter for most New Zealand houses is just 16 C.
- Damp homes are bad for our health and promote mould and dust mites. Minimising moisture sources is key to keeping your home dry.
- The average New Zealand household can produce over eight litres of moisture a day. Good ventilation is essential for removing excess moisture from your home and for maintaining air quality.
There are plenty of ways to ensure your home is warm, healthy, and meet international health standards – but these can vary in cost. Before you reach into your pocket, it’s important to first look at some simple and practical ways to ventilate and insulate your home.
Tips that won’t break the bank
- Stop cold air getting in by stopping draughts around doors, windows and fireplaces. With up to 20 per cent of heating lost through draughts, this simple exercise makes it easier to heat your home and reduce the cost of heating.
- Invest in safe heaters, wood burners or fireplaces. Ideally, fixed heating systems are more efficient and effective than portable heaters, and those with thermostats are great for cycling the heater on and off so you can maintain a comfortable temperature without wasting energy.
- Open windows and curtains on sunny days and close them before the sun goes down to trap heat in your home. This helps keep your home dry.
- Only heat the room that you are in. Try and keep the temperature between 18 and 21 C especially if you have babies, people with illnesses, or older people living in your home.
- Invest in a dehumidifier to dry the indoor air. They cost around $156 a year, but are great in helping to keep your home dry and a worthy investment.
- Try not to dry clothes inside, as this creates excess moisture in the air. Drying your clothes outside is not only free, but the sunlight kills bacteria, making your clothes healthier for you and your family. Use a shed or garage if it’s raining.
- To reduce moisture caused by steam, always open a window when showering or cooking on the stove top.
- Open windows in the kitchen when you cook, and in the bathroom when you shower or bath to let out steam. Extractor fans also reduce condensation by extracting steam – don’t forget to use it if you have one!
- Wipe off any water that has collected on walls or on the inside of windows. Condensation can make your room feel damp, which promotes the growth of mould. Products such as the Karcher Window Vacuum are great for this!
- Dress in warm, breathable clothing for bed and ensure your bedroom isn’t cold – it’s very important to stay warm during the night.
- If you must use a clothes dryer, make sure your clothes are properly spun first and leave your windows open while you are using it – even better, vent it outside!
- Invest in good curtains that are fitted for the window area well. A good set of curtains can be as effective as double-glazing when trying to reduce heat loss from windows. Consider pelmets, which help seal curtain tops, or thermal lined curtains, which help stop air passing through the cloth.
- Trim any trees that prevent sunlight from entering your house. If you are renting, remember to ask your landlord first and be sure to advise your neighbours of any work you plan on doing.
While it may seem costly, spending money to ensure your home is properly insulated and ventilated will act as a valuable investment in your property. Here are a few ways to improve the long-term overall health of your home:
Value-adding tips that cost
- Insulate your home – This includes the walls, floors and roof. It’s the best way to keep your house warm and save on heating costs. Visit the Energy Wise website to see if you’re eligible for a Home Insulation Subsidy.
- Invest in an efficient heat pump – Consider a multi-split heat pump, which are designed to heat multiple rooms, or ducted heat pumps, which provide central heating throughout the house.
- Home ventilation systems such as DVS and HRV – These systems are great for keeping your home ventilated with fresh, filtered air which helps to rid your home of moisture and filter out allergens in the air. This is especially valuable if you or someone in your family suffers from Asthma. With one in four Kiwi kids suffering from the condition, a home ventilation system can play a significant role in managing respiratory conditions.
- Double glazed windows – Specifically designed to reduce heat loss from homes and buildings, double glazing also provides many other benefits, such as making your home warmer in winter, cooler and summer, and reducing energy usage, condensation, and noise.
Investing in proper insulation and ventilation not only leads to a healthier home – it will also offer greater appeal to buyers when it comes time to sell your property. For more healthy home tips, check out Energywise’s Three Essentials for a Healthy Home.
Team MZ – The Auckland Property Specialists
Here at Team MZ, we’re experts at determining the factors that can affect a property’s value. Mickey Zhu, the top salesperson for the North Shore Central Office, and his dedicated team of North Shore real estate professionals can help you every step of the way, whether you’re buying or selling a house.
Get in contact today by calling the Team MZ at 021 880 106!